Monday, April 20, 2009

Financial Stress: 5 Ways Couples Can Survive and Prosper

All couples face financial stress at one time or another. Financial stress is not only caused by a lack of money or work, it also results from different spending styles, money management, and ways of coping with stress and life challenges. It can lead to major relationship problems and even separation. Money matters are one of the most common causes for divorce. When a financial crisis occurs, couples are forced to cope with changes that can be uncomfortable or cause one or both partners to feel resentment towards the other. The strain can lead to increased irritability, pressure, insecurity, and fear.

The challenges couples face quickly become more than a financial problem, and that is why many breakups and divorces occur. It hurts the relationship in all areas. If not handled in a healthy manner, financial stress can lead to:

Increased conflict & irritability
Fears, worries, insecurities
Blame and Underlying resentment
Physical symptoms/illness
Decreased affection/Sex life
Problems with changing roles & lifestyle

Following are some tips to help couples better cope with financial challenges that put strain on their relationship.

1. The first thing couples must do is come in agreement that they will make it through this challenge together. They are to see each other as partners. They are in this together. They are a team and together they will overcome.

2. If there are underlying issues of blame and anger, they need to be dealt with as soon as possible until there is a resolve to work together without resentment and/or unforgiveness.

3. Couples must accept the challenge as another way that their relationship will be put to the test. Reaffirming their commitment to each other despite what they are going through will help them to keep their focus and priorities straight.

4. Rather than shut down or withdraw, couples ought to communicate their feelings to each other. Communicating feelings of anxiety or pressure allows them to offer the support, comfort, and hope that is needed and can help significantly in coping with the situation.

5. Couples can help each other maintain an attitude that is hopeful and positive. Couples that pray together, stay together. Rather than focusing on the problem, couples can focus on the solution. Instead of talking about how bad things are or how bad they can get, couples can make the best of the situation and focus on the good things they do have. They can set new goals to make things better. They can brainstorm new ways of spending time together without spending much money. They can find new ways to connect and enjoy each other.

The strain on relationships caused by financial stress does not need to damage or destroy them. Instead, it can and will make them stronger if couples are willing to work with each other as they go through the process together of adjusting to the changes, and accepting new roles and different lifestyles. And, keep believing that things can and will get better. Tough times don’t last forever. Things will get better if they do not give up on each other and the situation. Couples who work together during trying times ultimately find that their relationships become stronger and more fulfilling.

C2009 Krystal Kuehn

I wrote this article in response to an interview for The Detroit News. To read more on the topic, check out the published article: "Worried about money, sex, kids? Be a Team" by Erin Chan Ding (The Detroit News and Free Press, April 19, 2009).

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Orthodox Easter!

As a first generation American of Macedonian descent, I have always celebrated Easter on the traditional day as well as the Eastern Orthodox date. So to those who also celebrate tomorrow I wish you a Happy Easter!

Here is my song of praise. I played it on my classical guitar. I hope you enjoy it.

Does not all nature around me praise God? If I were silent, I should be an exception to the universe. Does not the thunder praise Him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? Do not the mountains praise Him when the woods upon their summits wave in adoration? Does not the lightening write His name in letters of fire? Has not the whole earth a voice? And shall I, can I, silent be? ~Charles H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Help Save My Marriage: What are We Holding On to?

You know something is wrong in your marriage. Love is not the problem. You love each other although you do not always act like it. Commitment to the relationship and to stay together through hardships may not be the problem either. But, there is something that continues to keep you apart emotionally, physically, intimately.

There was a time when you felt secure and safe together. If you hurt each other, you apologized or showed somehow that you were really sorry. You did not let tensions build or hold grudges. You wanted to continue getting along and enjoying being together. But over time, some conflicts never really got resolved. They could have been pushed under the rug or become triggers to major blowouts. Over time, habits and differences became more annoying and more difficult to accept. Blame instead of shared responsibility became the norm. Personal attacks or insults became the more common reaction to feeling rejected, angry, or hurt. Instead of going to each other for support, comfort, and love, you began to distance yourselves from each other. It is as though your hearts were growing cold.

Distancing in a relationship keeps people apart on all levels. You do not have the trust you once had for your partner so you do not draw close emotionally. You do not feel the same affection and attraction because there is greater focus on what you do not like, respect, or appreciate about your partner. Distancing leads to greater problems if couples do not make efforts to draw close to one another.

What keeps couples in this dangerous state? It might start with pride or a sense of self-sufficiency, but it eventually becomes a hardened heart. A heart that is hardened blocks the flow of love. It forfeits peace and acceptance. It holds on to unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is detrimental to any marriage or relationship. With unforgiveness, there is an underlying attitude that “you owe me.” Yes, perhaps, an apology was never given that should have been or you were not treated right. Maybe you were terribly wronged, mistreated, and hurt. Forgiving someone does not make it okay. What it does is set you free, free to love unconditionally, free to know inner peace, free to connect with others on a deeper level, free to enjoy life.

Offenses and injustices need to be discussed and resolved. If they are not addressed in a relationship, they can lead to serious problems and keep a couple in a state of discontent. Think about anything that you have been holding on to that has blocked the flow of love in your heart. A hard heart can be softened, but you must choose to let love in. Will you open your heart? Will you face what has hurt you and work through it until you can release the hold it has on you?

Can a marriage be saved when there is unforgiveness and hardened hearts? Yes, it can when you decide to open your heart by releasing all that is holding love back. Let love in. Love is a healing balm that makes you whole—emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Love unites. If softens and fills you with hope and peace. It lifts the heaviness that weighed you down for far too long. Marriages can be restored when offenses are released and forgiveness takes place. Soften your hearts towards one another and make room for love to grow. Love has always been there, but it was blocked. Let forgiveness unblock its flow today and save your marriage!

Copyright © 2009 Krystal Kuehn. This article is a part of the Help Save My Marriage collection by Krystal.

For more info on great resources, free programs, and help for relationships, go to

Friday, April 10, 2009

Let's Celebrate Easter Every Day!

Easter is often celebrated with egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, and baskets. It's a fun holiday and a very significant one well. Easter is all about God's love. Because He lives, we have hope. No matter what we are going through, we can overcome with His help. Because He lives, we have an eternal love that heals, comforts, and fills us with purpose and peace. Receive His love today and you will have something to celebrate every day!

I love this classic song. I play it at many of our outreaches. I hope you enjoy it as well.
Holy Holy Holy